Archive for October, 2002

Letter from Goa

A few more weeks have passed so the time has come for another update.

For the last couple of weeks I have been in Goa.  Despite the fact that Kiwis are supposedly the world's greatest travelers, it would seem that not many of us make it here.  I have yet to meet another Kiwi / Aussie, and most of the locals seem quite surprised to see me.

This might have something to do with the fact that it is so incredibly difficult to get here! Goa is about 600km south of Mumbai, and despite the fact that it sounds like a great concept; the “sleeper bus” is not an idea that I predict will take off world-wide (especially in countries with lots of pot holes).

Anyway I arrived here fairly bruised and exhausted and spent the first week having a great time at a place

called Anjuna, which is the “Techno capital” of the world (Thank you Carla for the recommendation).  A lovely beach with lots of hippies and Israeli teenagers wandering around smoking drugs.  It's like the place was magically time warped from the 1970s, although all the hippies now have wrinkles and gray hair.  Need a florescent poster with mushrooms and pixies on it?  A Tattoo? Or some E?  No problem!  I spent the week blatting around on a rented motor scooter, attended my fist ever Techno Trance party and had a great time.

This week I've moved on to a place called Colva, which is absolutely gorgeous. A long deserted pure white sandy beach.  Spending my days lying on the beach reading books which brief breaks for beautiful gourmet meals.  Total cost per day (all up including food, accom and drinks?) NZ$ 20.  I'm staying in a little guest house that is only assessable by walking along the beach for a kilometer carrying your backpack.

I should theoretically visit Palolem before I leave, which is supposed to be the most beautiful part of Goa, but I'm having such a nice time here that I probably won.t bother (naughty I know)

That's enough from me today.  Still alive, having fun (and no, I'm not bored yet)

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Letter from Saigon

Hello All

Well, another two weeks has passed so the time has come for another update.

I am still alive, and this week I am in Vietnam, after spending last week in Singapore.  Quite a contrast and Singapore doesn't come out of the comparison too well I'm afraid. 

Singapore was of course very nice . because after two weeks in Korea – I got to speak English and buy food I could identify, but it was just too neat and orderly (Soulless?) for my liking.  That compares with here which is complete and utter chaos . and I'm having a fantastic time. Anyway, that's enough drivel. This weeks. highlights:

 

Singapore

  • It's fun to stay at the YMCA apart from one major oversight on their part . no bar!

  • “Wallet  shock”
  • Gives every impression of being a truly successful multi-cultural society
  • Little India was fun . especially as this month is the Deepavali festival.  I'm looking forward to “big India”
  • Lying on a long white deserted sandy beach, with the overall concept only spoiled slightly by wall to wall oil tankers and container ships on the horizon

 

Vietnam

  • I'm struggling to spend $ 10 a day here
  • I still can't believe the traffic. I take back everything I said about Korean motor scooter riders in my last e-mail.  The trick crossing the road is to just plunge in, move slowly, and whatever you do, don't make eye contact with motorists.  Roundabouts are the best           :)
  • Big residual effects from the “American War”.  Not that I want to get political here but a few days here might be instructive for George Bush in his current deliberations
  • Why shouldn't a family of five travel on a Honda Stepthru?

 

Contrasts / Comparisons

  • My Hotel room in Saigon is 100% nicer than in Singapore for just 10% of the price
  • Singapore is a western democratic. society and yet everything is structured, orderly and just a bit boring.  Vietnam is one of the few true communist countries left (no Perestroika here) yet everything is chaotic and people seem to be having a lot more fun (People are freer.?)
  • In Singapore there were lots of tourists looking at not much.  There's so much to see here and there are hardly any tourists.  Once you get out of town you are such a novelty that you attract a whole crowd of admirers who just want to stare at you (of course I got this in NZ too, it just wasn't as obvious  :).

That's all from me.  No spell checkers in Saigon I'm afraid.  Next update will be in a couple of weeks from Goa

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